Re: boldest endeavor

Date: Fri Apr 07 2000 - 07:12:15 MDT

In a message dated 4/2/00 3:04:34 PM Central Daylight Time,

> In response to Mr. Greg Burch,
> I am interested in which cross-section of society you wish to target
> with your campaign. Are you interested in including the whole population,
> or
> just the few who are willing to strive for these wonderful advances in
> health
> and longevity? You wrote the following:
> "Although this cultural barrier has probably not yet thrown up any
> impediment to progress toward advances in human longevity or other kinds
> augmentation, the time will come fairly soon when it will."

The answer to your question is "both". We need to target the researchers and
economic innovators who will actually do the work of extending human
longevity and augmenting the human animal because we need to encourage their
commitment to these goals. But we also need to target the broader population
because we live in an increasingly consensual society and extropians
encourage the further development of such a society. "Public opinion" counts
in a consensual society. Beyond this, my personal values call for offering
the fruits of longevity research and development of human augmentation
technology to as many people as possible.
> According to research conducted by the authors of the book, The Bell
> Curve, people from every race, creed, sex and religion that fall wihin the
> top 5% of the IQ curve have been quietly congregating. During the past
> Hundred years, certain neighborhoods, schools, professions, and companies
> have naturally attracted this cognative elite(cognative elite is the term
> used in THE BELL CURVE for those scoring in the top 5% on IQ tests) in the
> natural march towards evolution.

I haven't read "The Bell Curve" and, based on critiques of that book by
people whose opinions I respect, I doubt I will. However, I certainly think
that capable people will tend to work together and choose to associate with
each other in a free society. That seems to be a good thing.
> After carefully reading several hundred responses to the Extropian
> mailing list, it is my estimation that both the Transhuman and Extropian
> groups are examples of the hypothesis The Bell Curve presents. In other
> words most people on this list would fit THE BELL CURVE'S definition of
> cognitive elite.

We are a cognitive elite. But there are other cognitive elites who don't
share our goals and values, and those other groups have the power to block
our progress to a greater or lesser extent. We need to understand this and
learn to work with and around that reality.
> My point is this: If the majority of the population has been unaware
> a social trend that has been occuring for at least One Hundred years, and
> you
> feel they will cause unnecessary and uninformed impediments for your
> suggested movement, why waste time bringing their attention to such a
> project? If so many are asleep at the wheel of life, why try to encourage
> them to support the "Advances in human longevity"? This suggestion may
> terriably elitist, and I do not intend it to be so, but this type of
> innovative thinking has historically been quelled from many secters.
> it is time for those who wish to acquire health and longevity to do just
> that? Let the people who are satisfied with the "natural human life-span"
> continue to live with their comfortable thinking.

I agree, to the extent that I think that people should be allowed to make
informed choices about what they do with their lives. But I conclude that
spreading our goals and values to a wider sphere will be good for the people
who already hold those goals and values.

       Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
                                           ICQ # 61112550
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                          -- Desmond Morris

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